xiao long bao

3 Tips to Enjoy Xiao Long Bao: A Guide for First-Timers

If you are looking for one of the most interesting and heartwarming dim sum experiences, then you have got to try xiao long bao. It’s a steamed pork dumpling loaded with a soup-like filling that is first frozen into to resemble jelly. Once food orders are placed, the filling is placed inside a dough, pleated delicately, heated slowly, and served warm, allowing you to enjoy the rich, porky broth. One bite lets out a savory liquid that is light yet packed with flavor. 

Since the preparation itself is miraculous, you may be wondering how you can eat it properly without getting any liquids on your clothes. You may also be worried since this is your first time trying it. Thus, refer to the following tips to ensure you do so correctly and make the most of this delicious treat: 

  • Use your chopsticks and soup spoon 

Since most dim sum is consumed with chopsticks, you may be wondering how the typical xiao long bao can be eaten without making the filling leak out since the dough is thin. Additionally, if you even attempt to grab it quickly with chopsticks, accidents are bound to happen. Luckily, you are always given a soup spoon. It enables you to get the dim sum, take small bites, sip the filling, and eat the remains. 

Alternatively, you can eat the whole xiao long bao in one bite, but doing this may not be polite. Thus, you can grab a small empty bowl, place your dim sum there, pierce it with your chopsticks, drink the filling, and eat what’s left. Whatever method you go for, you can enjoy your first xiao long bao and may even come back for seconds and thirds! 

  • Don’t attempt to eat a hot xiao long bao

The general rule of thumb for serving xiao long bao in Chinese restaurants is that they wait for 3-4 minutes before serving it. It’s like some final cooling time to allow the broth to cool. However, it may be too hot for your liking, especially since it’s your first attempt at it. Therefore, you should be patient and spend your time doing something else. 

One of the things you can do while waiting for your xiao long bao is to prepare the dark vinegar-ginger dipping sauce. These condiments are usually on the table or served with your dim sum orders. You can also get a glass of water ready to ensure you are prepared to offset the xiao long bao’s warm broth with something cold.  Before you know it, your xiao long bao is ready for your enjoyment! 

  • Take this opportunity to try other dim sums

Since you are about to try something soupy and rich, you may want to balance your meal with dim sums that are a great contrast to what you are having. For example, you can have some fried dim sum, like the pan-fried turnip cake and fried shrimp balls. They are delicious and have a soft yet slightly dense texture. This way, you can have a deeper culinary experience and sample new things! 


Xiao long baos are a great introduction to Chinese cuisine, and you can enjoy them easily if you know how to eat them properly. Fortunately, you now know what you have to do. You just have to ensure you can find the finest local restaurant in your area. Try it today! 

Are you looking for the best authentic dim sum Houston has to offer? We at Ocean Place Restaurant can provide you with that. We are located in the heart of Chinatown and have been serving delicious Chinese seafood and favorites since 1999. Dine-in or submit your order online to put your xiao long bao skills to the test and try other great food!

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